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Stunned by His Grace
We will all be stunned
by God’s grace. With our limited mind we can never fully understand the ways of
the infinite God. God has His own ways and means to work in the hearts of
men. The questions we need to constantly remind ourselves are:
1. Do we know in what ways God is appearing to that soul?
2. Do we know in what ways God is drawing that soul to Him?
3. Do we know really know in what ways God wants to work in that heart?
4. Do we know
how God wants to reveal Himself to that mind?
If we do not know what God is doing, who are we to say that a person is saved or not? Who could have imagined that the criminal, hanging with Him, would be assured of salvation when he repented and showed faith in Jesus? Jesus says, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NKJV) It defies human understanding that even at the moment before his death, the criminal can be saved. So, it is best that we leave salvation to His Grace.
I fully agree with what Father Henri Nouwen and Mother Teresa say respectively below:
“Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God. I feel deeply called to witness for Jesus as the One who is the source of my own spiritual journey and thus create the possibility for other people to know Jesus and commit themselves to Him. I am so truly convinced that the Spirit of God is present in our midst and that each person can be touched by God’s Spirit in ways far beyond my own comprehension and intention. (Sabbatical Journey---The Diary of his Final Year, 53)
“God has His own ways and means to work in the hearts of men, and we do not know how close they are to Him, but by their actions we will always know whether they are at His disposal or not. . . . We must not condemn or judge or pass words that will hurt people. Maybe a person has never heard of Christianity. We do not know what way God is appearing to that soul and what way God is drawing that soul, and therefore, who are we to condemn anybody?” (Life in the Spirit, 81-82)
Jesus assures us that, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me” (John 6:37 TEV). It doesn’t matter whether the person is of this religion or that religion, a Pharisee, a Greek, a Roman Centurion, a friend, a rich man, a poor woman, a man with little faith, a crowd, the leper, the lame, the sick, the blind, the demon possessed or a little child. He walks His talk and keeps His promises as can be seen from the following instances: He
Raises the daughter of Jairus, a Pharisee, from the dead. (Luke 8:41-42, 49-56)
Heals a Greek woman’s daughter with unclean spirit. (Mark 7:24-30)
Heals the sick servant of a Roman Centurion at Capernaum. (Matthew 8:5-13)
Raises a friend, Lazarus, from the dead. (John 11:1-46)
Heals Peter’s mother-in-law at Peter’s home. (Luke 4:38-39)
Heals the sick son of a Nobleman in Cana. (John 4:46-54)
Heals a poor woman with an issue of blood for twelve years on the way to Jairus’ home. (Mark 5:21-34)
Heals the demonic son of a man with little faith a day after the Transfiguration (Mark 9:14-30)
Feeds the four thousand (Matthew 15:29-32).
Feeds the Five thousand (John 6:1-13).
Heals a leper in the town next to Peter’s home. (Mark 1:40-45)
Heals two blind men after He departed from Jairus’ home. (Matthew 9:27-31)
Heals a paralyzed man let down through the roof at Capernaum. (Luke 5:17-26)
Casts devil out of a dumb man (Matthew 9:32-34)
Heals a blind and dumb man possessed by devil. (Matthew 12:22-23)
Heals the blind man at Bethsaida. (Mark 8:22-26)
Cleanses ten lepers in a village along the border between Samaria and Galilee. (Luke 17:12-19)
Heals blind Bartimaeus and another outside Jericho. (Luke 18:35-43)
Welcomes the little children (Matthew 19:13-15)
All the passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “When God Whispers Your Name,” published in 1994 by W Publishing Group.
I’m GOING to have to install a computer in my shower.That’s where I have my best thoughts.
I had a great one today.
I was mulling over a recent conversation I had with a disenchanted Christian brother. He was upset with me. So upset that he was considering rescinding his invitation for me to speak to his group. Seems he’d heard I was pretty open about whom I have fellowship with. He’d read the words I wrote: “If God calls a person his child, shouldn’t I call him my brother?” And, “If God accepts others with their errors and misinterpretations, shouldn’t we?”
He didn’t like that. “Carrying it a bit too far,” he told me. “Fences are necessary,” he explained. “Scriptures are clear on such matters.” He read me a few and then urged me to be careful to whom I give grace.
“I don’t give it,” I assured. “I only spotlight where God already has.”
Didn’t seem to satisfy him. I offered to bow out of the engagement (the break would be nice), but he softened and told me to come after all.
That’s where I’m going today. That’s why I was thinking about him in the shower. And that’s why I need a waterproof computer. I had a great thought. A why-didn’t-I-think-to-say-that? insight.
I hope to see him today. If the subject resurfaces, I’ll say it. But in case it doesn’t, I’ll say it to you. (It’s too good to waste.) Just one sentence:
I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by his grace.
God’s judgment has never been a problem for me. In fact, it’s always seemed right. Lightning bolts on Sodom. Fire on Gomorrah. Good job, God. Egyptians swallowed in the Red Sea. They had it coming. Forty years of wandering to loosen the stiff necks of the Israelites? Would’ve done it myself. Ananias and Sapphira? You bet.
Discipline is easy for me to swallow. Logical to assimilate. Manageable and appropriate.
But God’s grace? Anything but.
Examples? How much time do you have?
David the psalmist becomes David the voyeur, but by
God’s grace becomes David the psalmist again.
Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ.
Zacchaeus, the crook. The cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered. But Jesus still had time for him.
The thief on the cross: hellbent and hung-out-to-die one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.
Story after story. Prayer after prayer. Surprise after surprise.
Seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it. Search the pages. Read the stories. Envision the encounters. Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. I dare you. Search.
You won’t find it.
You will find a strayed sheep on the other side of the creek. He’s lost. He knows it. He’s stuck and embarrassed. What will the other sheep say? What will the shepherd say?
You will find a shepherd who finds him. (Luke 15:3-7)
Oh boy. Duck down. Put hooves over the eyes. The belt is about to fly. But the belt is never felt. Just hands. Large, open hands reaching under his body and lifting the sheep up, up, up until he’s placed upon the shepherd’s shoulders. He’s carried back to the flock and given a party! “Cut the grass and comb the wool,” he announces. “We are going to have a celebration!”
The other sheep shake their heads in disbelief. Just like we will. At our party. When we get home. When we watch the Shepherd shoulder into our midst one unlikely soul after another.
Seems to me God gives a lot more grace than we’d ever imagine.
We could do the same.
I’m not for watering down the truth or compromising the gospel. But if a fellow with a pure heart calls God Father, can’t I call that same man Brother? If God doesn’t make doctrinal perfection a requirement for family membership, should I?
And if we never agree, can’t we agree to disagree? If God can tolerate my mistakes, can’t I tolerate the mistakes of others? If God can overlook my errors, can’t I overlook the errors of others? If God allows me with my foibles and failures to call him Father, shouldn’t I extend the same grace to others?
One thing’s for sure. When we get to heaven, we’ll be surprised at some of the folks we see. And some of them will be surprised when they see us. (51-54)
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